Our Daily Choices Between Life and Death
“I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live …” (Deut. 30:19)
God has set before us the choice between life and death. Today. Right now. With all of creation eyeballing us to assess the choice we make.
This verse rings very loud today. Two stories in the news lay so bare the stark choice between life and death the exposure is almost unbearable. Two stories that involve babies at 24 weeks. But the verse also hits closer to home.
Life and Death at 24 Weeks
Today, the Center for Medical Progress released a new undercover video featuring Arizona abortionist Dr. DeShawn Taylor. Taylor practically leaps at the opportunity to score more money for selling fetal body parts. She tosses off how crushing the skulls of babies is a workout for your biceps. She even suggests infanticide. As The Stream reported:
But [Taylor] knows the law. So, she tells the investigators, “In Arizona, if the fetus comes out with any signs of life, we’re supposed to transport it. To the hospital.” One investigator then asks, “Is there any standard procedure for verifying signs of of life?”
Taylor responds, “Well, the thing is, I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right?”
She then laughs. “It’s a mess,” she says as she repeats what the Arizona law requires. “It’s a mess.”
Taylor is also quick to inform the investigators that she does abortions up to 24 weeks. This brought to mind a story from earlier this week at Faithwire.com.
Peyton Keir was born at 24 weeks, some 16 weeks early. “Within seconds of the birth, a team of doctors and nurses rushed in and put Peyton onto the resuscitaire, before she was taken to NICU,” Peyton’s mother Becky said. “I was warned that 60 percent of babies born at 24 weeks only survive past the first month.”
However, the “miracle” baby has survived. Peyton is now nine months old. Although Peyton’s early birth makes her susceptible to cerebral palsy, the Daily Mail reports she is showing no signs of major issues and is developing as expected.
Two babies at 24 weeks. Yet in Dr. Taylor’s case, she chooses to kill. Arizona is denied a Peyton Keir. If she botches the abortion and the child comes out alive, well, whether the child goes to the hospital, goes in the garbage, or goes on the open market depends on who happens to be there.
The lesson of Deuteronomy is clear: “Yes, Dr. Taylor, you do need to pay attention to who’s in the room. All of heaven and earth is witnessing against you.”
And, while we’re at it, witnessing against me.
Choosing Life Over Death in the Small Things
A humbling thing happened as I was getting my Irish up over Dr. Taylor. The phrase “I put before you life and death. Choose life” was repeating in my head. As my self-righteous judgement of Taylor built, I began stuffing my face with a cheap sausage and cheese croissant. Then the Lord flipped the tables on me. “I put before YOU life and death,” He said, “and here you are choosing death. Again.”
I am in no way comparing the slaughter and sale of innocents to scarfing a breakfast sandwich. However, the fact does remain that so many times in any given day we are faced with the choice between life and death.
When I pack my temple with croissants and cookies instead of apples and bananas, I am choosing death over life.
When I show more enthusiasm for Whataburger than I do the Lord’s Supper, I am choosing death over life.
When I nail myself to the desk for hours on end rather than walk and stretch, I am choosing death over life.
It goes far beyond the physical.
When I dwell on the day’s news rather than in the House of the Lord, I am choosing death.
When I passively watch TV rather than work on creative projects of my own, I am choosing death.
When I pass time with my wife rather than fully engage with her, I am choosing death.
When I offer a blank mumble to a stranger rather than a burst of life, or a word from the Lord, I am choosing death. Death and Life, after all, are in the power of the tongue. We can speak blessings over people or curses.
When I write to score points rather than edify, when I use Facebook posts to express differences rather than unify, even when I write to humor myself rather than brighten the burden of others, I am choosing death over life.
Whew. How very easy it is to traffic in death. I have more in common with Dr. Taylor than I want to admit.
The Good News
Here’s the good news. We do have a choice. And we have a God gracious enough to help weigh the scale in favor of Life. He has sent us the Holy Spirit: Counselor, Adviser, Life Coach. The Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Good to know when I’ll soon be tempted by New Jersey pizza and bagels.) Isaiah tells us the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
In other words, the Holy Spirit offers us the brains and the brawn to be wise and strong enough to choose life over death in matters big and small. The resulting “fruit,” Galatians tells us is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
And that fruit is far better than any croissant.
Prayer: Lord, you have set before us in ways big and small the choice between life and death. With heaven and earth as witnesses, let me always choose life. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to help us with that choice. Lord, we also pray today for Dr. Taylor, that her heart will soften and she will, as many in the abortion industry have, turn away from death. We pray she will use her training and the gifts you’ve put in her to save life, not take it. I pray we will see each life as precious, whether in the womb or in line at the store. We ask this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.